Each day I read from a lectionary, a system of studying the Bible developed centuries ago that millions of others also participate in doing, and have done so for thousands of years. (You can find it online at many sites, or order daily devotionals that use it). It consists of a passage from the Old Testament, a Psalm or two, a passage from one of the four Gospels and one from the letters in the New Testament called the Epistles.
Today, one theme kept popping up – God gives, and has given.
Joshua 1:3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.
Ephesians 3: 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.
God tells Joshua that in the future, wherever Joshua goes, He has already provided for him. He has already given to Joshua what Joshua has yet to see, touch or hear. God is a giver. Like any parent, He loves to bestow gifts, little signs that He cares. But just like our children, we often don’t realize the sacrifices that comes with those gifts. And the biggest gifts are way too often are taken for granted: the gifts of life, of shelter, food and comfort. Instead, like kids, we whine for the little things, a new toy or money to do something fun, and pout if we do not get them.
Paul learned the lesson God was telling Joshua. He knows God provides. He realizes the gifts that have been bestowed upon him – the gift of life, second chances, forgivenss and mercy. He also knows it is his responsibility to use those gifts wisely and to let people know who has given them to him. Because that is the message of Christ- He gave His life so our right relationship with God the Father could be restored. Like Joshua, it is Paul’s duty to let others know what God has done, and will do. It is our duty as well. If we accept the gift, we must point to the Giver.
It also requires faith, that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus today, tomorrow or eons from now, God will give it to us – because like with Joshua, He already has. That is His promise. In the Gospel lesson for today, the centurion understood this. But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. . . And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. Matthew 8:8, 13
Lord, teach each of us to have more faith so we can acknowledge the gifts You have already given even before we ask. Then let us accept the responsibility of letting others know about the gift of Your love in our lives and how they, too, can receive it, just as today’s Psalm states –
Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.